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"Unleashed" is the third episode of the fifth season of Angel and the ninety-first episode in the series. Written by Sarah Fain with Elizabeth Craft and directed by Marita Grabiak, it was originally broadcast on October 15, 2003, on The WB network.


Angel tries to protect a woman who's been bitten and transformed into a werewolf from evil restaurateurs who want to turn her into an exotic dish.[1]


The Angel Investigations team is in a park, having a nighttime picnic with Chinese food. Fred scans everyone for bugs since the gang is trying to meet without Wolfram & Hart listening in. She tells the others that not everyone at the firm is evil, and Wesley questions if she can really trust Knox. Angel points out that the Senior Partners are evil, and they still don't know why they put the team in this position. Fred and Angel wonder if Gunn knows more than the rest of them do, since the firm put a bunch of knowledge in his head. Gunn says that they all made deals, and everyone got something out of it. Gunn accuses the others of thinking that he's a spy for the Senior Partners; Angel replies that they just need to be prepared.

As they discuss Spike, Angel asks Wesley if he can borrow his pen. Nearby, a young woman named Nina is attacked by a werewolf. The werewolf bites the woman, and Angel arrives, killing it with Wesley's pen. The dead werewolf turns back into his human form, and the woman runs off.

At Wolfram & Hart, Angel has a sketch of the woman from the park and tells Gunn that a werewolf bit her. Gunn notes that there are two more nights before the woman will transform. They agree that they need to find the woman since she will not know what happened to her.

Spike materializes in Fred's office, asking her to prioritize his condition over the woman from the park. He tells her that his disappearances "to the netherworld" are lasting longer. Fred suggests that he ask Wesley for help, but Spike says that he has a history with Wesley. When Fred says he's full of crap, Spike admits that he just doesn't want Angel or the others to know what he's going through. Fred assures him that they will figure it out.

In the lab, Angel urges Wesley and Fred to find a way to locate Nina. Dr. Royce, a cryptozoologist brought in by Wesley, is inspecting the body of McManus, the man who bit Nina. He tells Angel that he is a unique species of werewolf that is undocumented in North America. Angel declares Nina is now under his protection as Spike materializes in the lab. Spike warns the others to find the woman before she can transform, recalling a rather vicious fight he had with one where he almost lost a finger.

At her home, Nina wakes from a restless sleep and heads to the kitchen, where her sister Jill and niece Amanda are cooking. Nina discovers that her hearing is improved, and she does not remember how she got the bruise on her neck. She intently studies the hamburgers cooking on the stove and imagines slashing Amanda's neck.

In the science lab, the team searches traffic camera footage for Nina's car fleeing the scene the night she was bitten. They get a hit and are able to locate her address using the DMV's database.

That night, Nina babysits Amanda. She starts feeling sick and goes upstairs, where she begins transforming into a werewolf. Just before Amanda enters Nina’s bedroom to check on her, Angel pulls Nina through the window, and Wesley tranquilizes her.

The next day, Nina wakes up naked, locked in a cell. Angel assures her that she's safe and shows her a video of herself as a werewolf locked up the night before. She is upset with her condition and the fact that she wanted to hurt Amanda. He insists that it was the monster inside her that caused the violent impulses and tells her that she can control herself — he does it every day. Nina asks if he can cure her, and Angel admits that he cannot but says he can keep her safe.

Angel meets with Fred and Royce, telling them Nina agreed to stay in the holding cell that night. Royce warns that Nina might hurt herself but suggests taking her back to her home; the familiarity will calm her. Angel agrees, and Fred accompanies Nina back to her place. Fred insists that her life doesn’t have to drastically change since she is only a werewolf three nights out of the month. When Nina asks if Fred and Angel are a couple, Fred admits that Angel doesn't date much due to complicated circumstances. Fred tells her Angel isn't lonely since the gang tries to be there for each other — a "demon-hunting, helpless-helping, dysfunctional family."

Angel signs documents in Gunn's office, releasing McManus' body to his family. Gunn notices Angel is upset and tries to reassure him that he saved Nina's life. As Angel laments about the obstacles she will face as a werewolf, Gunn insists Angel did everything he could. Angel tells him to save the pep talk and focus on his job. Gunn walks off as Lorne enters, commenting on Angel's gloomy disposition. Lorne observes that Angel has been more moody ever since Spike showed up. He reminds Angel that since they are operating in unfriendly territory, he shouldn't forget about the people who have his back.

As Fred and Nina are about to enter her house, Nina says that she is not yet ready to face Jill and Amanda. Inside, Fred introduces herself and makes up a story about Nina leaving because Fred needed her help. Nina and Jill argue, and Nina leaves while Fred grabs a few of her things. As they approach the van, Fred notices that the security guards who accompanied them there are dead inside. Fred pulls out a tranquilizer gun as a group of masked men attack them. She tells Nina to run before a man knocks her out and kidnaps Nina.

Nina is dragged into the basement of a mansion and chained up, and a woman cuts off her clothes and washes her.

In one of the conference rooms, Royce sings for Lorne, who confirms that he is clean. In Angel's office, the others try to figure out who might have taken Nina. Fred criticizes herself for going near the van when it was obvious that something was wrong; she also worries that Spike has not materialized in a while. As Royce arrives, Fred spots Spike in the hallway and goes to talk with him. She runs after him, calling out his name, but he does not seem to hear her. She follows him into an office and notices something in a trash can, but is interrupted by Royce. Fred briefly chats with the doctor before knocking him out with a lamp.

Fred shows Gunn and Wesley a vial in Royce's trash that contained Calendula. Royce suspected that he would have to sing for Lorne, so he took a drug that would block his reading. Gunn discovers a hidden compartment in Royce's desk containing photos, papers, and a knife. Angel interrogates Royce for Nina's location as Fred finds a menu for a banquet hosted by restaurant entrepreneur Jacob Crane; his employees abducted Nina after Royce informed Crane that she had been bitten.

At Crane's mansion, a gagged Nina is wheeled out on a cart garnished with vegetables. She is surrounded by a room full of black-tie guests who applaud her arrival. Crane has assembled a group of people willing to pay top dollar to dine on werewolf meat. At moonrise, Nina will be served as the main course.

The gang arrives to rescue Nina, but she tells Angel to let them eat her. She does not think that she can go home and is resigned to being an animal. Angel frees her anyway, and suddenly they are surrounded by men with guns. As a confrontation begins, Nina turns into a werewolf, killing a guest before Wesley tranquilizes her. Angel announces that they are leaving, but Crane declares that he promised his guests a werewolf to eat. Suddenly, Nina rolls over and bites Royce's leg. Angel points out that in a month, Crane will have another werewolf to dine on: Royce. Crane considers this an acceptable resolution for both groups, and the gang departs as Crane's men drag a pleading Royce from the room.

Fred returns to her office to find a nearly transparent Spike standing in the corner. He remarks that he was not sure he would return this time and suggests they party before he faces "eternal fire and brimstone." She wants to tell Angel, but Spike refuses. Fred promises him that she will find a way to bring him back.

Angel drives Nina home, and she asks how he can live knowing that he's killed people. Angel tells her that eventually she will accept being a werewolf. She does not want to tell Jill and Amanda, and Angel tells her that it's her choice. When she asks if he ever thinks of disappearing, Angel tells her that when you separate yourself from the ones you love, the monster wins.

The gang meets at Angel's apartment, impressed by his new digs. They order Chinese food, which Angel offers to buy, surprising the others. Gunn wonders if Angel has a shot with Nina; Angel smiles, remarking that she gave him "a look." They settle in for a relaxing evening together.


  • Nina's type of werewolf returns to their human form after death and is considered very rare in North America. This is different from the one Gib Cain hunted for their pelts in "Phases" and from Veruca, who stayed in wolf form after her death in "Wild at Heart."
  • Wesley is suspicious of Knox being evil. This turns out to be true, as it'll be revealed in "A Hole in the World."
  • Spike says something is trying to hold on to him when he vanishes. "Hell Bound" will reveal what is trying to drag him to hell.
  • Fred tells Nina she spent 5 years in a demons dimension, until Angel saved her. This happened in "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb," when Angel and the rest of the team brought Fred back from Pylea.
  • When Nina comments Angel saves a lot of girls, Fred replies: "Girls, guys, puppies..." The episode "Orpheus" showed the memory of Angel saving a puppy's life, in the 1920s.
  • Nina asks if Fred and Angel are a couple and she replies:
    • "Me and Angel? Oh, God, no." After Angel saved her in "Through the Looking Glass," Fred developed romantic feelings for him. She didn't get over him until a while later, in "Carpe Noctem."
    • "He was seeing someone, sort of. But, she..." Fred means Cordelia, with whom Angel was in love, but is in a mystical coma since "Inside Out."
    • "Angel doesn't date much. At all. Because of his circumstances"; Nina infers: "Because he's a vampire." and Fred replies: "Kind of." Angel avoids relationships because experiencing true happiness reverts his ensouling curse, as he discovered in "Innocence."
  • Wesley says: "An underground, monster-hunting military organization. It's happened before." He is referring to the Initiative in Sunnydale ("The Initiative").
  • When Gunn asks the man hosting the party if leprechaun soufflé is next, the man replies that leprechauns don't exist. In "Double or Nothing," Gunn compared the appearance of Skench demons to that of leprechauns, only to be chided that leprechauns don't exist. In "Faith, Hope & Trick," Buffy also asked Giles if leprechauns were real, to which he replied that he didn't think so. A leprechaun is eventually seen in Day Off (or Harmony in My Head) and another in United, Part Two.
  • Angel is attracted to Nina and vice-versa. They will plan a date in "Smile Time."



Organizations and titles[]




Death count[]

  • McManus, stabbed with a silver pen by Angel.
  • Crane's henchmen, bitten by Nina in werewolf's form.

Behind the scenes[]


  • The werewolves were designed by Robert Hall, of special effects agency Almost Human, and were an intentional departure from the werewolf costume worn on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. "They were saying Oz looked like a gay possum," Hall says. He decided to design the werewolf with sparse hair so that the muscles underneath were clearly visible. "The script wanted a big, bad wolf," he explains. "I think it literally said, 'Don't make it look like a gay possum.'"[2]


  • "Unleashed" had an audience of 3.1 million households upon its original airing.[3]

Pop culture references[]


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Puštěná ze řetězu" (Unchained)
  • Finnish: "Ihmissusi" (Werewolf)
  • French: "La fille loup-garou" (The Werewolf Girl)
  • German: "Werwolf Nina" (Werewolf Nina)
  • Hungarian: "Vérfarkas" (Werewolf)
  • Italian: "Liberata" (Released)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Efeito Dominó" (Domino Effect)
  • Russian: "Необузданная" (Unrestrained)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Desencadenado" (Unchained)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Liberada" (Freed)
  • Turkish: "Kurtu Serbest Bırakmak" (Releasing the Wolf)


Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]



Angel: "I'm not gonna sing."
Lorne: "Couldn't bear it if you did. No, it's talking you need. Or maybe a shoulder to..."
Angel: "I'm not gonna cry either."
Lorne: "I was going to a leaning place. Okay, Atlas. How 'bout a shrug?"
Spike: "Hey, I'm a situation, remember? I'm a bloody phantom. And you and your serious girl spectacles were gonna help me with my bloody little problem."
Fred: "I know, and I bloody will."
Spike: "I had a wee spat with a werewolf myself once. Fought for over an hour. Brutal, vicious. Almost lost my..."
Fred: "Angel killed him with a pen."
Nina: "So, you're like a family?"
Fred: "Yeah, a demon-hunting, helpless-helping, dysfunctional family."


  1. "Episode." TheWB.com. Archived from the original on October 22, 2004.
  2. Kate O'Hare, "'Angel' Unleashes a Werewolf." Zap2it, October 11, 2003. Archived from the original on April 27, 2006.
  3. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's Fifth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on February 16, 2008.